No changes too thorny for the King of Fruits
By:News Desk
Date:
Picture by Shan Cheng Durian Penang (2)

Traders move to Shopee to reach consumers

KUCHING: With Malaysia experiencing high rainfalls and farms lacking manpower support due to the conditional movement control order (CMCO), the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) expects a lower-than-normal yield at below 300,000 metric tonnes this durian season.

This, in addition to the prohibition of communal activities like squatting by roadside stalls and digging one’s fingers into soft, creamy yellow flesh as the country battles against Covid-19, is set to impose some challenges to the industry.

However, despite the slow global economy and various challenges, Fama expects 2020 to be an optimistic year for the durian industry.

Most durian sellers foresee demand to remain strong domestically and internationally, especially from the Singaporean and Chinese markets with China’s economy beginning to recover.

“Malaysians may not be able to enjoy it by the roadside this year but consumption will remain strong in line with their love for durian,” Fama said.

It encouraged sellers to embrace e-commerce to boost their sales during this challenging period.

Meanwhile, Shopee found that Malaysian durian sellers have been unperturbed by the disruptions and are very progressive in their approach to e-commerce.

It noted a new and interesting trend as its platform has organically attracted durian farmers from across the country as they bring their offerings of D24, Musang King, XO, Hor Lor and Udang Merah.

Many have also resorted to creativity with their own campaigns like Duduk Rumah, Makan Durian to stay relevant.

Covid-19 has seen to be impacting businesses adversely in many ways beyond just sales.

Shan Cheng Durian that used to take tourists at its 12-acre farm in Balik Pulau, Penang, revealed that the virus outbreak has discouraged tourists from visiting the farm.

Now, as they look for new ways of selling their harvest, they have to also think of innovative ways to keep the durians fresh and delicious.

“There are many things to consider when going online. Freshness of the durian is one of them.

“To ensure that our customers receive the best quality,  we collect the durians from the farm in the morning, open and repack into boxes and vacuum pack them before it goes out for delivery on the same day.

“With so many sellers online competing for sales, it boils down to quality, service and price to win the crowd,” said Leow E Shuen, co-founder and business manager of Shan Cheng Durian Penang.

For Mountain Cat Durian, the Covid-19 outbreak impacted the sales of its processed products such as durian puffs and ice cream by 50 percent.

This was due to the low business-to-business (B2B) demand from the bakery and confectionery sector, as well as the food and beverage merchants.

The Puchong-based company whose 20-acre farm is in Broga, Negeri Sembilan, also experienced financial struggles from the overhead expenses, such as labour and factory commitment.

“With our offline and B2B sales being hit amid rising cost pressures, we realised it was time for us to explore an offline-to-online model to sustain the business and ensure that our durians do not go to waste.

“Prior to selling online, we only had a few orders in a month; but now on Shopee, we receive orders every day. The current circumstance is an eye opener for us – it showed us that we cannot be complacent in our approach by ignoring the digital world,” said Ma Tuck Mun, founder of Mountain Cat.

Their Musang King pulp is currently their bestseller on Shopee.

Shopee also revealed that the keyword search for “durian” on its platform is also beginning to trend, signifying consumers’ interest as the season kicks off.

In a bid to help the durian sellers sustain their incomes and give Malaysians their durian fix, Shopee will be featuring both Shan Cheng Durian and Mountain Cat, along with 500 other durian and fruit sellers in its 6.6 Super Sale happening from now until June 6.

Durians will be on Shocking Sale at RM0.66 with an added 10 percent in-store discount for selected sellers throughout the campaign.

Said regional managing director of Shopee Ian Ho: “The effects of Covid-19 have translated into many other aspects of our lives beyond our health. It has hindered us from activities we love like bonding with friends and family over durian.

“However, that doesn’t mean that we cannot still enjoy durian or treat our loved ones to some. With more durian sellers coming online, Malaysians can get them from our platform to be enjoyed safely at home.

“Furthermore, our local sellers need our continued support for the sake of our economy. That is why besides featuring them in our campaigns like the 6.6 Super Sale, Shopee is committed to keeping our platform cost-effective.”

He said sellers are cautioned to ensure that they are able to fulfil the orders – supply, packaging and logistics – prior to selling.

“We understand that this may be daunting for first-time online sellers and as such, assigned a dedicated team to assist those in need of help. They can reach out to us at http://tiny.cc/shopeefresh and we will be in touch,” said Ho.

For savings on a wide assortment of products, deals start from only RM0.66 and customers enjoy free shipping with a minimum spending of RM16 as well as score daily RM6 vouchers during the 6.6 Super Sale.

There will also be a 6.6 Shopee Live Festival featuring Taiwanese pop stars Alien Huang, Emma Wu, Tiffany Hsu, Sam Tseng and Blaire Chang as well as local stars Nabila Razali, Pongpong, Shalma Eliana and Yonnyboii.

The session will culminate in Malaysia’s queen of pop Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza on June 6

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